Friday, 24 January 2014

How to Photograph Wine Bottles Using Dark Field Lighting

Article by: Trevor Dennis

This was done as part of a poster project for Chris. The glass is pure dark field. The bottle is a bit of a mishmash using the dark field setup I had in place for the glass, but with a manual blend of three exposures and finally an exposure with my largest white reflector each side of the camera.

how to photograph wine bottles
how to photograph wine bottles

I have taken to using the largest scrim I can manage behind the subject to maximize the wrap round. You can see this worked better camera right than camera left, and that's because I was holding a two meter high reflector while pressing the shutter release, and I could not reach on the left side, so had to improvise. (I was set up in the corner of our bedroom because it’s too cold to work in the garage)

Post Processing

The BG is Photoshop, as are the shadows. The texture was placed behind the glass by:

  1. Ctrl click the Glass layer to select it.
  2. Select the BG layer with texture, and press “Ctrl + j” to copy the glass shape.
  3. Move the new layer above the glass layer, and set its blend mode to Lighter Color.
  4. Ctrl click the new layer to select it.
  5. Contract and feather the selection (enough to shrink it back from the glass edges)
  6. Add a layer mask to the new layer. (I think I have that the right way round, but if not, just invert the mask – Ctrl i)
  7. I also reduced opacity a bit as you would not see the full texture behind a real glass.

BTW When you add noise to a gradient to produce texture, it lightens it. There’s no way round it if you already started with full black, so you need to use curves or levels on the texture layer. The smart way is to do it with a linked adjustment layer so you can run a gradient down the mask to control where and how much.

Lighting for the Shot

Bowens Gemini, (triggered Pocket Wizard Plus 2s), with 1.2 meter octobox, fired into 1.5 meter scrim behind subjects, with dark card between subject and scrim (dark field - as in Fil Hunter's 'Light Science & Magic' book)

Related Reading